Tag Archives: Quark

Quark Word Juggler protection

Quinn’s comments on my previous post about the downfall of Quark, Inc. pointed out the need for me to take a better picture of the Word Juggler dongle.  So here you go.

Quark Word Juggler dongle

In addition to providing hardware-based DRM for the software, the dongle for Quark Word Juggler also allowed users to create powerful custom keyboard macros.

Also, here’s a shot of the custom keycaps you got when you bought Word Juggler.  These are not stickers that you peeled off a sheet and applied yourself.  Quark shipped actual plastic keycap replacements for your Apple IIe keyboard.

Quark's custom keycaps for Word Juggler functions.

Quark’s custom keycaps for Word Juggler functions.

Two-page Word Juggler ad from a November 1983 issue of InfoWorld.

Word Juggler ad page 1

Word Juggler ad page 2

Quark. Only mostly dead.

Back in 2011, it was widely reported that Quark, the legendary maker of software that at one time was the cornerstone of the desktop publishing industry, had been purchased by Los Angeles-based mergers and acquisitions firm Platinum Equity. Quark’s star had been waning for years by then, its once-sterling reputation now tarnished by a series of blunders in what appeared to be a deliberate and targeted campaign of ill will against its primary customers, Mac users in the industry.  Increasing pressure from Adobe’s encroachment into the publishing space and a CEO that couldn’t keep his mouth shut accelerated the fall, so no one was really surprised when news of the sale broke.  The common speculation was that the whatever valuable IP remained would be sold off to the highest bidder and the company dissolved.  An ignominious end to a sad story, indeed.

Quark global headquarters in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Quark global headquarters in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Sensitive as I am to such things as the suffering of others, I exploited the opportunity to write a post about some of my favorite Apple II and /// products from Quark’s early days.  And, like everyone else, I was expecting the worst for Quark.

Well, turns out they’re still in business.  As I was trying to restore some of the old articles that existed here a few years back, I did a little Googling and yep – they’re still around.  I’m not sure what they’re doing these days.  Gaining market share lost to Adobe doesn’t seem to be a priority, but Platinum Equity is content to let them keep at it.  And that’s cool – my “not so fond farewell” can wait.  Here’s the old article, with the stuff about Quark’s demise excised.

This post originally appeared on 6502lane.net on August 9, 2011.

Those of us who have been playing around with computers for a bit longer than the average user probably remember Quark for more than just a powerful desktop publishing application. Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff they produced for my favorite 8-bit home computer, the Apple II (and III!). Don’t worry, the list is short.



Quark was an early proponent of DRM and implemented draconian copy protection schemes in their products. Catalyst was designed as a program selector to assist Apple /// users in loading their expensive business products from diskette onto their new, even more expensive hard disk systems while retaining their copy protection. They were going for the best of both worlds here, and didn’t really attain either.


An Apple /// user would first install Catalyst onto their shiny new $5,000 10 MB ProFile drive and then, through a series of convoluted steps, load various pieces of software into Catalyst. During the install, the user’s original diskettes would be disabled and permanently tied to the Catalyst diskette so that the originals would no longer boot and could only be reinstalled to the hard drive through the specific copy of Quark’s program to which they were tied. Quark whimsically referred to these lobotomized disks as, “Catalyzed”.


Have you been… uh… Catalyzed?

Additionally, if your newly enslaved applications required access to your printer, Catalyst had to be manually configured through a quick, 30-step process… Okay, maybe not so quick.



Catalyst itself was also copy protected and featured a serial number so that once “Catalyzed” your applications couldn’t be loaded by a copy with a different serial number.

You can imagine the headache you were in for if you one day decided to move to a different program selector to access your programs once they had been modified.

A version of Catalyst creatively called “Catalyst IIe” was eventually introduced for the Apple IIe and IIc.

Word Juggler


Quark’s word processor for the Apple II line was known for its ease of use, extensive feature set and simple learning curve and matched up well against AppleWriter, which served as Word Juggler’s main competition until the AppleWorks suite was released by Apple in 1984. On the Apple ///, Word Juggler was the first, and for years only, commercially available word processor.

Apple recommended Word Juggler and even sold copies directly to customers and through dealer retail shelves while its own offering, Apple Writer ///, floundered in development hell.

Word Juggler ad from InfoWorld, Nov 30, 1981

Word Juggler ad from InfoWorld, Nov 30, 1981

On your Apple II, it came with a custom set of keycaps, silk-screened with convenient command information, and a nice keyboard template of sorts, that you could align with your number keys for easy reference while working.  Fancy.


Word Juggler wasn’t immune to Quark’s copy protection efforts and customers had to install a hardware dongle in their Apple II to get the software to boot up at all. All that convenience and flare didn’t come for free, it seems.


Lurking silently in your Apple II, protecting Quark’s IP.

And that pretty much wraps it up for Quark’s 8-bit Apple software offerings. They also sold a number of minor applications, most designed to enhance Word Juggler. Lexicheck was an 8,000-word spelling checker; Terminus provided telecommunications functionality; Mail List Manager Interface also integrated with Word Juggler as did TypeFace, giving you access to typesetting equipment, should you have it.



And so we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the corporate entity known as Quark, Inc.

Perhaps Quark, Inc.’s final chapter has yet to be written…

Maybe I should just drive downtown and visit Quark, Inc.

So, it’s back to the Apple ///.  Hey, it’s been calling – what can I do?  I just can’t leave a problem unresolved.  Anyway, I’d like to thank Dave Ottalini from Washington Apple Pi for providing me with working Quark Catalyst disks so I could try to get to the data on the ProFile drive.

Quark Catalyst Diskettes

Quark Catalyst Diskettes

My concern here, though, is (if I understand the manual) once you load a program onto the ProFile with Catalyst, it’s “branded” with the Catalyst’s serial number, so that files loaded with one serial number can’t be accessed with a copy of Catalyst that has a different serial.  Which would have been a major inconvenience 20 years ago, if your Catalyst disk went bad and you didn’t have a backup.  And since the Catalyst disk is apparently so heavily protected, that scenario probably isn’t so uncommon, especially these days with more and more floppy disks lost to the ravages of time.  True, Quark included a complementary back up floppy with the package, but if you’ve lost it or it’s dead, you could be out of luck.

WAP has a disk image for a program that apparently deserializes Catalyst, and another to make a back up of your existing disk, but I don’t know if that allows you to access programs that have already been installed by another Catalyst that hasn’t already been deserialized.

Stay tuned!

Binder for version 2.0 of Quark Catalyst

Binder for version 2.0 of Quark Catalyst

A bit of personal trivia.  The Quark headquarters building, which Google maps tells me is about 10 miles from my house, is located at 1800 Grant Street in Denver.  In the mid-1990s, I worked for Kaiser-Permanente, building databases to help them index their extensive library of medical publications and articles.  The Kaiser offices were located in this building, several floors below Quark.  On my lunch breaks, I used to ride the elevator up and talk tech with whomever happened to be around that would listen to me.  I wonder what they’d say if I walked in with a copy of Catalyst, asking for technical support… Actually, I know what they’d say: “Security!”


Quark global headquarters in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Quark global headquarters in downtown Denver, Colorado.